“If you are going down the road and happen to see four refrigerated trucks of meat … the reality is for the pork industry at least one of those trucks is most likely headed for export,” says Neil Dierks, National Pork Producers Council, told Chip Flory, host of AgriTalk on Tuesday.
It’s a very important issue for pork producers, Dierks said, but it’s almost invisible. NAFTA accounts $38 billion or 28% of all U.S. exports that were done in 2016, he says. And trade with Canada and Mexico has grown more than 390% since NAFTA was implemented about 24 years ago. Listen to his comments below.
As the U.S. headed back to the table for the sixth round of negotiations today, time is in short supply to keep the trade agreement in place.
A new coalition, American for Farmers and Families, consists of more than 50 U.S. agriculture groups, representing farmers, growers, suppliers, refiners, transporters, retailers and consumers are speaking with a unified voice to tell President Donald Trump and Congressional leaders the importance of preserving and modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Often, we talk about ‘sharing our story’ and I have to tell you this has been a classic example,” Dierks said. “Groups seeing a need to come together to tell the story—not just for the producer but for all of agriculture.”
Few will disagree the deal needs modernization—the agreement was made before many business adopted e-commerce technology. “We understand the need to update some parts of NAFTA. But in general there are some other parts of NAFTA that are working really well ad that is dealing with our food and agriculture exports,” Dierks says.
Other industries are also concerned with NAFTA, he adds, including automobile manufacturers.